President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed grief over the demise of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.

In a message on Twitter, Kovind said: “Sad to hear of the passing of scientist Stephen Hawking. His brilliant mind made our world and our universe a less mysterious place. And his courage and resilience will remain an inspiration for generations.”

Modi said Hawking’s “pioneering work made our world a better place”.

“Professor Stephen Hawking was an outstanding scientist and academic. His grit and tenacity inspired people all over the world. His demise is anguishing,” Modi tweeted.

“Professor Hawking’s pioneering work made our world a better place. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.

Credited for shaping modern cosmology and inspiring millions despite suffering from a life-threatening condition, Hawking died at the age of 76.

His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday confirming his death at his home in Cambridge, The Guardian reported.

Hawking is survived by three children — Robert, Lucy and Timothy — from his first marriage to Jane Wilde, and three grandchildren.

Hawking was born on Januart 8, 1942 in Oxford, England.

Known the world over for his acclaimed book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes”, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — a progressive neuro-degenerative disease — in 1963 at age 21.

Hawking’s doctors gave him nearly two years to live but he defied the medical history and survived for decades.

For the rest of his life, the physicist used a wheelchair to move around and a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerised voice with an American accent.